Microsoft to Sell Activision Blizzard Cloud Gaming Rights to Ubisoft

After over a year and a half, has yet to close its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. It might be in the home stretch, though. After claiming a narrow court victory over US regulators, Microsoft is working on the remaining holdout: the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA expressed concerns over how the deal could give Microsoft unfair power in cloud gaming, so Microsoft is giving some of that power away to Ubisoft.

Microsoft and Ubisoft have agreed to see Activision Blizzard titles added to Ubisoft+ via streaming. That means you'll be able to access games like Call of Duty on Ubisoft's platform, but it also plans to license these games to a range of cloud streaming services. And nothing precludes Microsoft from also having these games attached to its Game Pass service.

You can tell how badly Microsoft wants this acquisition to close by the impressive generosity of the Ubisoft agreement. It covers the current raft of Activision Blizzard titles and extends to any PC and console games the group may release in the next 15 years. Ubisoft will also retain the streaming “in perpetuity.” Previously, it offered 10-year gaming deals to any service that could conceivably stream video games, but that wasn't enough to assuage UK regulators.

Microsoft isn't just giving away these valuable streaming rights. Ubisoft will pay Microsoft an upfront fee to start, and then it will compensate Microsoft over time with market-based pricing mechanisms, some of which will be based on how much time people spend streaming Activision games. Microsoft would also be obliged to port games to other operating systems if Ubisoft foots the bill, making it feasible to get Microsoft content on Linux-based streaming platforms.

Microsoft has alerted the CMA to the restructured deal, but the clock is ticking. Microsoft and Activision Blizzard agreed to a 90-day extension of the $69 billion transaction that expires on Oct. 18. Microsoft's Brad Smith says the firm expects the CMA to wrap up its assessment of the arrangement before that deadline. So, it may only be a few weeks until Activision officially becomes part of Microsoft.

You might also like

Comments are closed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More